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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

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PACTOKS  IN  INDUSTRIAL  COMPETITION.                    431
may be made, and the people can make or change these rules. In only one case in America can a corporation interfere in any way with the private rights, property or freedom of the individual. That exception is the right of eminent domain, and the conditions under which this right may be exercised give to every injured party more than sufficient compensation for the trespass. Nevertheless, it is an infringement of a personal right, and for this reason such corporations have always been regarded as subject to legislative control. This control has not been entirely theoretical, for some socialistic Western States have enacted laws that have brought ruin to all the capital invested.
Taking into consideration simply manufacturing corporations as the only ones pertinent to our inquiry, in no particular do their corporate rights allow any trespass upon the rights of individuals. They may use their money to injure men or communities, but so may any private person. Any multi-millionaire might buy a factory and shut it down and ruin a village, and it is difficult to see what could be done about it. He might discharge all his old and trusted servants and the law could hardly touch him. He might commit all the sins charged against corporations and there would be no redress. It is wrong to condemn corporate laws for allowing acts which a private individual may legally do, and it is certain that manufacturing corporations have been given no rights of eminent domain, no privilege to infringe upon the private estate of the citizen. They have the power to issue bonds, to issue stock, to conduct business under a perpetual name, and in return have certain duties, certain taxes to pay, certain regulations under which they must conduct their business and protect the interests of the minority. This is the extent of their powers as granted by the State. All other powers are inherent as vested in general constitutional prerogatives.
This, then, is the definition of "organize/3 and the right of men, whether so-called "laborers" or not, to so unite has never been questioned. They may form organizations for pleasure, for improvement or for business; but it is another matter when they "organize" to restrict personal liberty. That a band of men may agree among themselves not to work more than a certain number of hours per day is as certain as that they may agree not to smoke, or not to eat meat. Their right to do so is unquestionable. It is their